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AMBI Faculty & Staff

The faculty and staff at the American Massage & Bodywork Institute share the same vision: to enhance the student experience, and to provide the most talented and work-ready therapists in the country. 

We strive to provide an elite education to individuals with a great interest in helping others feel better through the power of meaningful touch.

Scott Deidun
Co-Owner, CEO & President
Scott Deidun, MBA, is a graduate of Walsh College in Troy, Michigan. Scott also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biological Sciences from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Scott has served in various leadership roles in education, with the majority of that time being spent in massage therapy. In 2013, Scott was presented with an “Excellence in Education” award by Massage Envy for his work with that organization.
Phyllis Myers
Campus Coordinator
Phyllis comes to us with 15+ years of extensive customer service experience. Fueled by a passion for hospitality and assisting others, she earned her Associates Degree in Hospitality Management in 2015. Her bright and inviting smile is a glimpse into the family-like culture that our students, instructors, and clients have come to expect with AMBI. Though not a native to Northern Virginia, Phyllis spent the majority of her childhood in NoVA and returned to the area in 2011. Since then, she has enjoyed frequent worldly travels and brings those experiences back to share with us all.
Erin Erb Hughes, MS, PT, LMT and AMBI Graduate
Admissions Coordinator
Erin came to AMBI after serving as a Physical Therapist for over 20 years in multiple clinical settings. Erin is also a personal trainer as well as the author of several continuing education textbooks. Erin brings a wealth of bodywork experience and is an advocate for the bodywork industry, students, and this school. Erin graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Health Studies and a Master of Science in Physical Therapy, both degrees from Boston University.
Shavell Pearson
Financial Aid Director
Shavell has been in the Financial Aid field since 2012. She currently resides in Prince George's County Maryland with her husband and children. As a person who has been through the process of applying for college, and utilizing financial aid, Shavell understands the challenges and/or confusion many students can face when applying. She focuses on providing students and their families with a clear understanding and a peace of mind through what can sometimes seem like a burdensome process. Priding herself on a commitment to excellence while also ensuring compliance standards are met, she has received an "Excellence in Service Award". Shavell does not hesitate to go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure everyone's needs are met. Her mantra is that teamwork makes the dream work, and she humbly believes that we can assist you in making your massage therapy dreams come true!
Kelley Howard, LMT
Massage Program Director, Instructor
Kelley Howard is a licensed massage therapist in the Commonwealth of Virginia. With 18 years of experience in the field, she was first certified in Maryland where she developed a private practice working alongside other therapists and acupuncturists. Here in Virginia, she took additional courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and medical terminology. She is currently working in a chiropractic clinic and growing a mobile private practice. Her certifications are in myofacial and deep tissue massage, as well as infant massage instruction. Presently she is practicing and working toward certification in Tui Na.
Sylvia Harris, LMT
Instructor
Sylvia has been practicing Massage Therapy since 2014. Throughout these past 5 years, she has focused on Prenatal Massage, Neuromuscular Therapy, and developed a deep passion for Myofascial Release. Her driving force has been helping others with pain relief and being able to positively impact a person’s life so they may live more fully. Asked why she is passionate about massage, “it’s a simple tool, the human hand, that can make a really big change in someone’s life in a really positive manner”. Her goal as an instructor is to impart the knowledge she has gained to date.
John Smith, LMT
Instructor
John joins AMBI as a 23-year veteran of massage therapy and has performed thousands of hours of therapeutic massage. A proud graduate of the National Holistic Institute College of Massage in Emeryville, California; he has studied several modalities including Neuromuscular Therapy, Shiatsu, Thai yoga, Myofascial Release, Positional Release Techniques, Integrated Lymphatic Drainage and Structural Integration. In addition to teaching John currently provides in-home massage therapy for clients and has more than 20 years experience working as the Massage Department Manager and Educator at Elizabeth Arden's Red Door Spas and Salon in Tysons and Fairfax, Virginia. From 2009 - 2012 he had the honor of being listed in Allure Magazine’s 'Best of The Best’ issue. Utilizing his experience and continued passions for the art of massage John joined American Massage and Bodywork Institute in 2019. ‘I get to help guide my students’ natural gift of touch and intuition with the power of education and clinical reasoning. Giving back and helping them have work they love.’
Marisa VanDyke, OTR/L, LMT
Instructor
Marisa received a clinical doctorate of occupational therapy from Creighton University and spent years in the medical fitness industry specializing in yoga, balance, strength, and boxing for older adults with a variety of mobility and health conditions. While in school, she developed a passion for manual therapy, and has been in private practice since 2016, offering Myofascial Release in the John F. Barnes method. Self-described 'forever student', Marisa has accrued thousands of hours of continuing education credits in bodywork and movement therapies. She believes there is always more to learn as science keeps evolving.
Chrystal Sterling, OTR/L, LMT
Instructor
Chrystal Sterling was born in Charlotte, NC and has been is living in MD for the past 34 years. She graduated with a BA in Biology from McDaniel College and graduated with honors from Howard University with a master's degree in occupational therapy. She is a registered licensed occupational therapist in the state of Maryland. She has been practicing in the skilled nursing setting with a variety of clients (orthopedic, CVA, and TBI) for the past 7 years. She loves her career and helping people enhance their quality of life. She is a graduate from AMBI, licensed in MD and VA, and is excited about joining the family as an instructor. Chrystal will do her very best to assist her students in succeeding to become massage therapists. She lives by the scripture "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" and her motto "walk by faith not by sight." Being with AMBI, she hopes to encourage others that they can do the same thing.
Cynthia Thomas, LMT
Instructor
Cynthia Thomas graduated from the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy in 2012. In addition to being an LMT in the state of Virginia, she is a Certified Pediatric Massage Therapist (CPMT) and Certified Prenatal Massage Specialist (CPMS). Cynthia's work experiences range from mobile massage services, working in a chiropractic office and wellness centers, as well as teaching at a college in Virginia; to currently running her own private practice and building an online educational program for her community. Her practice, which specializes in Neck & Back Trigger Point Therapy, has been running successfully since 2016. Cynthia has a passion for utilizing various modalities like cupping, hot stones, and barefoot massage; and is excited to bring her rich lessons and experiences into the classroom here at AMBI.
Helen Leonard, LMT
Instructor
With degrees in computer science and health sciences, focusing in exercise, nutrition and fitness, Helen applies cutting-edge methods to maximize client health. Helen specializes in functional fitness, muscle release techniques, and stability training to assist with pain management, injury recovery and preventative care. Mrs. Leonard worked closely with a chiropractic and pain management clinic bringing an innovative and effective approach resulting in profound long-term improvement. Helen brings a wealth of experience and broad understanding of how to regain and improve health. She has worked as a licensed massage therapist, certified personal trainer, and functional fitness and pain management specialist, implementing customized recovery, nutritional consulting, balancing, and strengthening programs for each client. She provides muscle release training, health and wellness consulting, nutrition consulting, and functions as an Associate Instructor for the American Bowen Academy.
Kenneth Odoom, BS,LMT,FMS
Instructor
Ken earned a B.S. in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). As an AMBI alumni with a background in sports medicine and rehabilitation, he understands the benefit of massage therapy as medicine. His work includes assisted stretch therapy and therapeutic massage. Additionally, He is a certified practitioner in IASTM, kinesiology taping, myofascial cupping and holds an advanced certification in functional movement training. He takes pride in applying an integrative approach to help individuals move efficiently, prevent injury, improve balance, flexibility, and build strength. Ken is continuously driven to learn and use innovative methods to improve quality of life.
Jamille Howard, LMT, RYT
Instructor
Jamille has been a licensed massage therapist since 2015. She is also a licensed Zumba instructor and a RYT 200 certified yoga instructor. After learning about the physiological benefits of the parasympathetic nervous system during her massage school training, Jamille decided to specialize in yin yoga, to further activate the release of "feel-good" hormones in her clients. Jamille has earned a masters of education degree in professional counseling, and a bachelors degree in philosophy & religion. Combining science, art, and intuition, Jamille often receives just as much pleasure as her clients while performing massage. Facilitating healing is not only therapeutic for her clients, but amazingly rewarding for her. Working as a massage therapy instructor is a dream come true, as Jamille actively lives out her passions for wellness and education.

Is a Rewarding Career in Massage Therapy Right For You? Get More Info…

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For immediate questions, call 571-620-7170